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Flood victims say more homes would be lost if not for volunteers, military

Last Updated Apr 29, 2019 at 12:53 pm EDT

Canadian Forces members stand on a mountain of sand as they make sandbags to protect homes on Voisine Road in Clarence-Rockland, east of Ottawa, as flooding continues to affect the region on Sunday, April 28, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Were it not for volunteers and the military as water levels climbed over the weekend, victims of this year’s devastating spring flooding in Eastern Canada say many more homes would be lost to the disaster.

The City of Ottawa says 5,500 people have registered since late last week to fill sandbags, set up walls to slow the water from reaching properties and deliver food to overwhelmed flood victims.

Many more volunteered their time and efforts as part of community organizations.

Emmett Power’s home in the west Ottawa community of Constance Bay was just centimetres from filling with water early Monday as flood levels surpassed those seen in 2017 along the Ottawa River.

He says the volunteers who lugged heavy sandbags to make walls against the torrent around his property were the difference between maintaining dry floors and a total loss.

Roughly 800 people each day turned out to help at the Constance and Buckham’s Bay community centre over the weekend.

Those numbers dwindled as many people had to return to their weekday jobs, but dozens more continued wielding shovels and filling sandbags early Monday.

The Canadian Forces said it deployed approximately 750 military personnel since April 25 to support flood relief efforts in the National Capital Region, including helping fill sandbags and build walls around homes and critical infrastructure.

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